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From the Flood

· In the Clay Field

My recent collection of work was created during my reclamation of materials and resources after my studio was flooded.

Each piece is a monument to a moment when an external situation arises which is out of my control. I reflect on the speed of change, the certainty of uncertainty and what can be salvaged in the wake of a flood.

This body of work is my way of processing an unwanted experience and opening up to the wider teachings something unpleasant can provide.

I learnt to lean into the challenge, to feel impermanence more deeply and use her 'artist' part to observe rather than fall into a sense of loss. This collection replaces the scattered mess of the aftermath of flooding and celebrates the found treasures left behind.


broken image

In October 2022 my studio / shipping container based at my parents house in Campbells Creek went under water. My sister sent photographs of the flood as it happened and our family messenger feed tinged on regular intervals sharing snaps of growing water levels swallowing fences, cars and my studio space. There was a sense of the inevitable, a knowing that nature was expressing its power and there was nothing I could do. The main concern was that my parents were safe and yes they were safe and are safe… now back to me;)

broken image

When I arrived at the studio to see what I could salvage, I was greeted with the sound of bubbles popping as brown sludge oozed its way out of cracks leaving a light brown icing coated on everything. Fired work, tables, tools, personal belongings and raw materials were all tumbled and left scattered by the receding waters. I picked up a bisqued piece of work and tipped the water out, the warm liquid splashed onto the floor and up my bare leg. Was I being pissed on by a pot? A final gift from nature to say,

   “Hey, know that uncertainty is a constant and nature will always leave its mark on those who rest in comfort.”

After nursing the Kiln through a three day drying out cycle, I was desperately keen to get some work fired. So I lit the burner and prayed to any kiln God out there who would listen...

Fast forward one hour. Kiln fired. Work removed from kiln and EVERY PIECE OF WORK CRACKED THROUGH COMPLETELY. Kilns Gods on vocation.

Lesson 1. Moisture in kiln leads to severe cracking.
Lesson 2. Impatience = damaged works.
Lesson 3. Breathe deeply, the outcome cannot be changed, but they way you look at things can. The pieces which cracked I began to apply the concept of Kintsugi to them (a Japanese philosophy of embracing the imperfect or flawed).

The relationship of the cracks and the flood were reflected in the damaged pots, like new rivers running and bursting, leaving behind scars to heal. The process of celebrating the broken and making it something of beauty mends the pot but also the spirit.

Title: Pink River. Raku / Kintsugi 2023. Belinda Nailon